Chapter 46: Imminent Disaster
Yodel, Gilbert and the worried Jines—who kept turning her head back—silently left the hall with different paced footsteps.
In the hall filled with Everlasting Lamps, Thales could be seen sitting at the host's seat. Morat was sitting at a distance behind the banquet table.
The place was silent.
But there was nervousness in the air.
Thales pretended to relax his shoulders, and he gave a smile that he usually carried while he was a beggar.
However, he still felt the biting gaze of the old man in black clothes, which were trained unwaveringly on him.
Thales felt uneasy from the abnormal atmosphere. His mind grappled firmly with the little information available.
'The Chief of the Secret Intelligence Department.
'Chief of Intelligence.
'He also knows about my previous identity as a beggar as well as Red Street Market and… the Mystic.'
Morat seemed to have lost his patience. He abandoned his soft demeanor and spoke harshly in an extremely sharp voice, "I will get straight to the point, child. I just want to know about the night you escaped from Red Street Market and what the Mystic said to you when you met him."
'How did he know that Asda talked to me? Did Yodel betray me?'
Thales' brain was spinning quickly, but there were too many variables and too much information to deal with.
'What did Yodel say to him? How much did he say?
'How much does Morat know about Asda, about Blood Bottle Gang and about my mystic power running out of control?'
Thales' apprehensive mind came to a conclusion. 'Whatever happens… I have to first ensure my own safety.'
Since that night Quide came to the sixth house looking for his hidden copper coins, the beggar and heir, Thales had been accustomed to his involuntary, precarious, and lonely fate. He had always tried his utmost to survive.
Thales expressed doubtful excitement. He then said, "What?" Oh, that Mystic! You are talking about the legendary boss of Blood Bottle Gang?"
Morat gently narrowed his eyes, looking puzzled and hesitant.
Thales then held his head, as though he was recalling the incident. "I remember that there was confusion everywhere that night. The boss of Blood Bottle Gang said—"
However, things did not go as he expected.
He was interrupted.
Morat was expressionless as he leaned against his walking stick. His voice resounded in Thales' ears.
Morat's eyes widened and he looked straight into Thales' eyes, causing Thales to feel a chill run down his spine. "You have an innate talent for lying and acting. However, what I want to ask you is about… your old friend, Asda Sakern."
Thales was startled.
"I will ask again. What did Asda say to you before Yodel appeared and sealed him?"
Morat's eyes seemed to burn as he waited for Thales' answer.
Thales, who had been interrupted, stopped and lowered his head.
'What does he know? Does he know that I met Asda? Did he see through me?
'Either way, this is not good.' He felt apprehensive.
Thales tried his best to calm down. 'This old man… is probably the most difficult person I have ever dealt with. However, since he is asking me about this, he must not know about what Asda said to me.'
Thales gritted his teeth. 'In particular, he does not know that I am the same kind as Asda.'
In spite of that, Morat's following words once again smashed his thoughts into pieces.
"Let me remind you again, boy." Morat laughed unpleasantly.
"Did Asda not find a newly born Mystic?"
At that moment, Thales felt his heart turn cold in fear.
The boy thought in alarm. 'Yodel… What did Yodel tell him? Why is he so certain?'
"Hahaha." Morat broke out in a strange laughter. "People fear me for a reason."
The old man moved forward step-by-step with his walking stick and approached Thales.
At that point, Thales had the urge to escape.
"I am a Psionic. Although I do not like this ability, it helps me a lot."
A discouraging thought flashed through Thales' mind.
"There is no need for you to lie anymore concerning the Air Mystic.
"I can clearly see into your mind. Asda, that handsome, pretty boy clothed in blue. My god, he is still so young!"
Morat's words were like a hammer hitting Thales' chest.
However, the engrossed Morat was not done. His words made Thales shiver as he uttered his words one after another.
"What is that in Asda's hand, a blue ball? I can see three balls of flesh there. He still likes to squash humans into little meatballs, eh?
"Why is it so dark around the both of you? Where exactly are the both of you?"
Morat looked pleased as though he was reading an interesting travel log.
Thales' mind turned blank and he instinctively trembled.
'Clothed in blue?
'Handsome, pretty boy?
'Squashed human flesh?
'A dark location?
'How does he know this? How could he have known this?'
Thales even felt his breathing hitch.
Morat looked very tired. He lowered his head and rubbed his nose. "Ah, it is really strenuous to use this ability. I cannot use it so often."
He then lifted his head and laughed, revealing an ugly and wrinkled smile. He looked at the now pale Thales and said, "That is why the others call me the 'Black Prophet'."
Thales was so shocked he was speechless. Morat then opened his mouth and said the most malignant thing to the boy.
"That is right, child.
"I can read minds."
This time, Thales truly felt that he was facing an imminent disaster.
"What do we do now?" Standing at the corridor on the second floor, the first-class, female official, Jines looked at the two men in front of her with a dreadful expression. "You all know of Morat's ability and capability. He uses secrets, information, scandals and everything you can think of to control anybody he wants to control."
Jines took a few steps and added scornfully, "Are you going to just let that child… He is very smart, very mature and he has potential… but that is the Black Prophet in there with him!
"The omniscient Black Prophet!"
Gilbert said in a serious tone, "I am aware of his ability. Without the help of the Secret Intelligence Department, how could we have managed to sign the Fortress Treaty?"
"Yet, you still allowed him… That bastard Kessel. What is he thinking?" Jines angrily slammed down on the railings with her palm. The huge force caused a dent in the railings, which were made out of cedar wood.
At this moment, Gilbert frowned and turned around.
Jines, who had discovered that something was off, also turned around while feeling puzzled.
Except for the motionless guards, only the two of them were in the corridor.
At some point in time, Yodel had disappeared again.
Meanwhile, at the Northern City Gate of the Eternal Star City, the guards and the city defense team on sentry duty had completed their day's shift. They prepared to pull down the huge portcullis, closing the magnificent stone city gate.
'This has been another calm day.' The captain of the city defense team thought as he waved his hand and prepared to change shifts.
However, the keen-eyed sentries on the wall saw some figures on horseback in the distance riding quickly towards the capital.
Behind them, was a white flag.
One sentry on the wall shouted to his colleagues by the gate's locks at the top of his voice, "Wait! Do not shut the gates! There are fast horses! They should be messengers!"
The captain felt uncertain and got up the walls. He saw the cavaliers from the distance.
When the group finally got nearer, the captain was surprised to see a white eagle flag in their hand.
'The outpost five miles away did not stop them, so they should be important messengers, but…'
With a dignified expression, he stepped out to the front and roared.
"The capital is in front! Slow down immediately!"
"City defense team, interception formation!"
Dozens of soldiers from the city defense team immediately shouted below the city wall. They readied their swords and formed a barricade with their shields, shining like the stars and blocking the gates; a battle array formed against the advancing cavalry.
"Knights! Slow down immediately! Reveal your identity and business!" The captain shouted out from the gates.
The knights below then looked up, but continued to ride at the same speed. They raised a scroll and anxiously shouted, "This is an urgent message from the Mayor of Cold Castle, the Guardian Duke of the Northern Territory, Val Arunde! This is a Level 7 Emergency!
"Please confer the message directly to the King!
"No one shall block the way! The Duke is on his way!
"This is his personal seal of command!"
As the knights spoke, he raised his hand. The scroll, which was tied to a stone, flew towards the gate, and it was caught firmly in the supra class captain's hand.
'This man is a master and is truly worthy to be a knight of the Northern Territory,' the captain thought as he felt the power from the scroll slamming into his hand.
The captain removed the lacquer seal, then looked at the signature and stamp. He nodded his head and scrambled up the battlement to shout to the array below.
"Everyone, disperse the formation! Let them pass immediately!"
"I cannot thank you enough!" Below the city wall, the knights rushed past the soldiers who had given way. They desperately whipped their horses and galloped towards the center of the capital, surprising many passersby.
"Quickly! Faster, faster!" The lead knight had a frenzied expression as he urged his entire team ahead without any regard for the horses' wellbeing.
The captain looked at the distant knights with a foul expression. "Do not close the gates yet. If what he says is true, we still have the Guardian Duke of the Northern Territory to greet."
'A Level 7 Emergency?
'Ever since I assumed office, the most urgent reports or letters I have ever encountered were ones from the United Army led by His Majesty. I believe there was a war report on the decisive victory against the Barren Bone people and the orcs. I remember that was a Level 6 Emergency.
'So, what just happened?' He was very puzzled.
The captain hesitated for a moment. He then turned his head and asked one of his colleagues behind him.
"When was the last time we had a report declaring a Level 7 Emergency?"
The city defense team looked at each other, feeling uncertain.
"Do we even have a Level 7 Emergency?" a young soldier scratched his head and asked.
There was a moment of silence.
"There was a Level 7," a somber voice answered. The soldiers all turned around to see a veteran, who was at the innermost area.
The veteran looked ghastly pale as though he had recalled a frightening memory.
His lips turned pale as he muttered, "The last time… was twelve years ago."